5/22/2016

This 1916 Guide Shows What the First Road Trips Were Like – Phenomena: All Over the Map

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. Share.. Television Main Menu Television Television Home Nat Geo Wild TV Schedule Shows Video Blogs Spotlight http://phenomena. Plan. Explore the world with us through you-are-there .nationalgeographic...com/2016/05/20/this­1916­guide­shows­what­the­first­road­trips­were­like/ 2/15 . Travel Main Menu Travel Travel Home Top 10 Destinations A-Z Trip Ideas Travel Blogs Traveller Magazine Photos Video Our Trips Our Lodges Dream. Adventure Main Menu Adventure Adventure Home Gear Ultimate Adventurers Trip Ideas Parks Photos Video Blog Nat Geo Trips Trail Maps World's Best Hikes 20 thrilling hikes that will get your heart racing.5/22/2016 This 1916 Guide Shows What the First Road Trips Were Like – Phenomena: All Over the Map Help raise awareness about environmental issues through . Go.

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com/2016/05/20/this­1916­guide­shows­what­the­first­road­trips­were­like/ 4/15 .nationalgeographic. 05/20/2016 Ed Yong http://phenomena.5/22/2016 This 1916 Guide Shows What the First Road Trips Were Like – Phenomena: All Over the Map Shop Now » Shop Trips Subscribe Phenomena A SCIENCE SALON BLOGGERS Search Nadia Drake ALL OVER THE MAP A Blog by Betsy Mason & Greg Miller This 1916 Guide Shows What the First Road Trips Were Like Erika Engelhaupt Robert Krulwich Betsy Mason & Greg Miller Maryn McKenna POSTED FRI.

 factories. a bewildering array of potential routes connected any pair of distant points. ALAMY A cross­country road trip is a quintessentially American experience. A crucial aid in those days was a series of guides called the Official Automobile Blue Book. It’s always an adventure. PHOTOGRAPH BY NATPAR COLLECTION. if not a little bit dangerous. the guide had the look and heft of a Bible.286 individual routes—actually more. It included 1. What struck me. Cars were unreliable. a geographer at the University of Nebraska at Kearney. and places where the road crossed trolley tracks.nationalgeographic. Route 528.5/22/2016 This 1916 Guide Shows What the First Road Trips Were Like – Phenomena: All Over the Map In the early 20th century. because some routes had lettered side routes. But a hundred years ago. With a leather cover and gilt lettering. pointing out landmarks like cemeteries. It covered a huge swath of the country. the Official Automobile Blue Book reassured drivers that road trips were safe and gave them turn-by-turn directions. giving detailed turn­by­turn directions that put Google to shame. says John Bauer. while route 528A takes you from Greely up to Estes Park. Colorado to Denver. Roads were rough. but in modern times it’s a relatively tame one: The roads are paved. traveling cross­country by automobile was intimidating. Each thick volume covered hundreds of routes. for example. millions have loaded up the car and hit the open road. and Siri always has your back. and with the Interstate Highway System still decades away. Bauer suspects the guides may have even influenced some of the routes chosen for the state and federal highway networks built in the subsequent decades.com/2016/05/20/this­1916­guide­shows­what­the­first­road­trips­were­like/ 5/15 . in addition to the sheer number of routes and their complexity (the 115­mile route from Fort Morgan to http://phenomena. From Jack Kerouac to the Griswold family. The Blue Book guides and others like them were the predecessors to road maps and atlases. via Greely. who published what may be the only academic study of the series. signs point the way. takes you from Fort Morgan. from the Mississippi River to the Pacific Coast. I recently spent some time flipping through a 1916 volume at the Prelinger Library in San Francisco.

 Bauer writes in his paper.” he writes. Chicago to Denver. but they made sense in the context of the times.” http://phenomena.” and urges readers not to be daunted by the journey. was the volume’s boosterish tone. Road signs were virtually nonexistent. Lots more people were driving.com/2016/05/20/this­1916­guide­shows­what­the­first­road­trips­were­like/ 6/15 . “They were uniquely suited for navigating the primitive network of local roads that existed prior to the 1920s. had doubled in the last two years. those fancy people in the Blue Book ads reflected the aspirations of the newly automobiled middle class). The guides also met a pressing need for navigational aids at the time. “You don’t drive but one or two or three miles before you have to turn. not Big Gulps. reminding them that at least 5. seldom dangerous or serious. are the very thing that give romance and variety to a Western trip. And lots of them were getting lost. The instructions for using the Blue Book guides (see below) seem complicated now. apparently well­heeled people.” The Blue Book guides (which aren’t related to the Kelly Blue Book guides to The leather cover and gilt lettering were designed to give the Blue Book guides an authoritative look.000 cars had made the trip from the Mississippi to the Pacific in the last two years.nationalgeographic. By 1916. In the early 20th century. for whom automobile ownership had only recently come within reach. A section on Transcontinental Touring extolls the “wonders of the western country. make driving look très sophisticated. with photos of well­dressed. Five whole thousand! “True. the unexpected happens in those less developed and more sparsely settled sections of the country—but those unforeseen occurrences. would involve hundreds of turns on small local roads that wound their way through the countryside and zig­zagged through towns. Bauer says.S.5/22/2016 This 1916 Guide Shows What the First Road Trips Were Like – Phenomena: All Over the Map Denver had 40 steps). If cars had cupholders back then. Cars changed everything.4 million (compared to 188 million in 2014). say.” Bauer told me. because until cars came along there was no need for them. The number of cars registered in the U. they were well on their way to becoming more Ads like this one in the 1916 Blue Book reflected the aspirations of the middle class. “It’s impossible to show all those turns at the scale of a typical map. published in Cartographic Perspectives in 2009. The ads. and virtually all short trips were made by local people who already had a mental map of the roads in their area. PRELINGER LIBRARY / PHOTO BY car values still published today) were GREG MILLER drum up enthusiasm for automobile intended to look authoritative and to touring. a trip from. PRELINGER LIBRARY / PHOTO BY GREG MILLER than just a toy for the wealthy (all the same. these folks would be rolling with crystal goblets. reaching 3. Long trips were made by train.

 9.nationalgeographic.4 miles. at the start of the second step above. even when the actual routes were far more convoluted.8 miles into the entire trip. The first number for each step is the total distance traveled so far. right where the second step begins).4 mile segment described in the previous step (you’d have passed the school at 4.4 End of road; turn right with travel.2. and you’d have just finished the 5. you’d be 8.8 5.2 The numbers refer to mileage. Easy.7 End of road.5/22/2016 This 1916 Guide Shows What the First Road Trips Were Like – Phenomena: All Over the Map This diagram explains how to use the reference maps to look up detailed driving directions between two places. Here are two steps in the directions from Fort Morgan to Denver: 3. For example. Like railroad maps.4 1. Rather.0. Cross concrete bridge 5. the concrete bridge at 5.4 at the end of the road.2. these index maps depict straight­line connections between towns. 8. And convoluted they were.com/2016/05/20/this­1916­guide­shows­what­the­first­road­trips­were­like/ 7/15 . the second is the intermediate distance you’d see on your odometer if you re­zeroed it at the beginning of each step. right? http://phenomena. Cross bridge over Platte River and RR. but most of them aren’t meant to be used directly in navigation. they serve as a visual index to the written turn­by­turn directions. Pass school on left 4. turn right; curving left just beyond.4. PRELINGER LIBRARY / PHOTO BY GREG MILLER The guides do contain maps. Turn right with road 5. and hit 5.

Colorado. Bauer says. but was never caught napping…” Not much is known about how the Blue Book guides were made. Amateur pathfinders. You’d have to find your way back to the nearest point of reference. following all these twists and turns would have been easier back when cars rarely broke 30 miles per hour. He was often attacked by Indians. Bauer says.com/2016/05/20/this­1916­guide­shows­what­the­first­road­trips­were­like/ 8/15 .nationalgeographic. and there was time for a driver (or better whoever was riding shotgun) to look back and forth between the book and the road ahead. This section of the 1916 guide shows driving directions between Greely and Estes Park. The Blue Book guides weren’t purely for navigation.5/22/2016 This 1916 Guide Shows What the First Road Trips Were Like – Phenomena: All Over the Map Well. following these directions would require two things: a good odometer and a degree of diligence. The Fort Morgan­Denver route description. If you got off track all your numbers would be off. http://phenomena. but the publisher apparently paid professional “pathfinders” to drive the main roads each summer so the guides could be updated to reflect the quickly­ changing road conditions. also contributed. They also include introductions to towns and cities and flag points of historical or modern interest. for example. PRELINGER LIBRARY / PHOTO BY GREG MILLER Even so. includes this gem: “The intrepid Hollen Godfrey maintained a stage station at a point located near Merino. often members of local automotive clubs.

 If only Siri could flag the landmarks and throw out some trivia along the way. Rand McNally had published its “Auto Chum. In 1926. PRELINGER LIBRARY / PHOTO BY GREG MILLER In a way. The Federal Aid Road Act of 1916 provided the first federal funding for building and improving roads. in 1924. it became far easier to navigate without turn­by­turn directions.5/22/2016 This 1916 Guide Shows What the First Road Trips Were Like – Phenomena: All Over the Map This index map shows the main roads leading in and out of Chicago. pressure mounted on the government to build better roads.nationalgeographic. Two years earlier. after decades of relying on road maps and atlases. the success of the guides may have contributed to their demise. the Blue Book guides with turn­by­turn directions were no longer published. It’s ironic that nearly a century later. –Greg Miller You Might Also Like: http://phenomena. Other companies soon jumped on the road­atlas band wagon. As signs went up along these routes. so many drivers have gone back to turn­by­turn directions as their preferred navigational aid. After 1927. As more people felt emboldened to hit the road.” the first edition of what would become its bestselling road atlas. the first network of numbered interstate highways was established.com/2016/05/20/this­1916­guide­shows­what­the­first­road­trips­were­like/ 9/15 .

2016 AT 5:48 PM I am now in my mid-seventies. We had a “cooler” in the side window of the car and a canvas water bag hung on the front of the radiator for crossing the desert.. REPLY KentGeek says: MAY 21.htm REPLY Leave a Reply Your email address will not be published. blue boosts creativity In "Neuroscience and psychology" 3 thoughts on “This 1916 Guide Shows What the First Road Trips Were Like” Dick Pilz says: MAY 20. The mileage format is similar.edu/Race/R_Casestudy/Negro_motorist_green_bk.C.5/22/2016 This 1916 Guide Shows What the First Road Trips Were Like – Phenomena: All Over the Map 231 Varieties of Rain: Frogdrops Keep Falling on My Head Speeding Towards Birds In A Car.com/). 2016 AT 1:57 PM This guide reminds me of of The Milepost (https://www.com/2016/05/20/this­1916­guide­shows­what­the­first­road­trips­were­like/ 10/15 . but it was before the Eisenhower interstates and before auto air conditioning. I can remember an automobile trip our parents took us on when I was nine years old.nationalgeographic.. We went from Los Angeles to New York..themilepost.umd. http://autolife. B. For Science! In "Amphibians" In "Animal movement" Colouring your mind ­ red improves attention to detail. and Yukon. as well. Required fields are marked * Comment Name * Email * Website http://phenomena. which covers Alaska. It was not quite 1916’s difficult. Boston and Chicago as well as many cities and towns along the way. 2016 AT 5:04 PM You might find this interesting.umich. REPLY Old Geezer says: MAY 20. Until reading this article it never occurred to me what a monumental undertaking that trip was.

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nationalgeogra… Embed View on Twitter WHO WE ARE Phenomena is a gathering of spirited science writers who take delight in the new. TRENDING ON PHENOMENA This 1916 Guide Shows What the First Road Trips Were Like If You Love Maps. Follow on Twitter at @natgeoscience. the strange. This Blog Is for You How To Prevent Millions of Deaths from Failing Antibiotics Stravinsky's Secret and the Art of Saying No History of Dogs Tracked Through Contagious Canine Cancer National Geographic General Shop Contact About http://phenomena.ly/1sG8MGm This 1916 Guide Shows Wh… With insanely detailed direc… phenomena.nationalgeographic. the beautiful and awe-inspiring details of our world. DISCLAIMER The views expressed are those of the writer and are not necessarily those of the National Geographic Society. which invites you to join the conversation.5/22/2016 This 1916 Guide Shows What the First Road Trips Were Like – Phenomena: All Over the Map Tweets by  @mapdragons Map Dragons   @mapdragons The turn­by­turn directions in this  1916 guide inspired some of the  first cross­country road trips  bit. Phenomena is hosted by National Geographic magazine.com/2016/05/20/this­1916­guide­shows­what­the­first­road­trips­were­like/ 14/15 . See National Geographic's community rules.

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